On Politics With Lisa Lerer: How the Kavanaugh Hearing Resonated With Readers

There are so many emails that we wish we could run. But that would be a book — not a newsletter. So we combed through and pulled a selection of notes that represented what you’ve been saying.

A lot of you felt disappointment with the people you elected …

“I’ve been a Republican for over 40 years. I am ashamed of my party, of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and especially of my home senator, Rob Portman. My party no longer resembles the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower. They have descended into Trump’s swamp. Why could they not find a better candidate than Judge Kavanaugh?” — Tom Giapponi of Lancaster, Ohio

“The saddest part is today’s circus did not seek the truth. Despite their proclamations of listening and keeping an open mind, every senator had already cast their ballot. The lens of partisan politics is so strong, every senator will vote based on their number-one value of self preservation. I cried today as I watched the hearings. I cry now as I write my opinion. I will vote.” — Vickie Ideta Allison of Newbury Park, Calif.‌

… And you vowed that they would pay a price in November.

“Hell yes, I cried. Yelled. Cursed. I even flicked off several of the Republican committee members in the privacy of my home to relieve my mounting anger and frustration over the pompous hypocrisy on display. And I am a registered Republican. Not for long if Senator Collins votes to confirm Justice Kavanaugh.” — Linda Mackaman of Maine

“The beginning of today’s hearing made me excited. It made me proud to be an American citizen. But by the end, I was furious, not at just the Republicans, but the Democrats and political system as a whole. In a time when #MeToo and #MarchForOurLives have been so prevalent, I felt no difference from the senators’ chairs. The only thing I felt from today that makes me truly excited is that the midterms are 39 days away, and a reckoning is coming.” — Nathan Beam of Chicago

Many of you wrote in to tell your personal stories.

“I cried and remembered an assault I suffered as a college freshman in 1969 that I got the courage to talk about for the first time in 49 years.” — Alison Hall of Little Rock, Ark.

“Dr. Ford inspired me last week to report a molestation … I’d never reported it before, and listening to her speak today, it felt like it was my voice I heard through her: just wanting to help, flashbulb details in terrorizing specificity, wrecked life, and spotty memory about the rest. She spoke for me and for all of my friends in similar circumstances who have had a harrowing week watching this all unfold.” — Kathryn Taylor of Palo Alto, Calif.‌

Some doubted the veracity of Dr. Blasey’s claims …

“Dr. Ford gave an emotional testimony devoid of facts. I not only looked at it as a woman, but as the mother of three sons. How would I feel if that were one of my sons accused accordingly? No opportunity to dispute the time or the place … Regardless, Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation is destroyed.” — Virginia Manley of Loganville, Ga.

And others said Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony raised questions about his temperament.

“I am an early childhood teacher. If one of my students behaved the way Judge Kavanaugh did, I would make a note to help him with his social emotional development. He showed no empathy for Dr. Ford, and clearly felt entitled to a post on the Supreme Court. His self-pitying crying made me physically ill. Dr. Ford was clearly victimized twice.” — Lynn Moulton of Evanston, Ill.

“What I saw was a man, Kavanaugh, unfit for the office of which he was seeking. He lost his cool, a behavior not at all appropriate for a non-partial Supreme Court judge. It’s also quite apparent that he is holding back and not being forthright. This behavior alone makes him unsuitable.” — Mark Worden of Stuart, Fla.‌

And finally, you wondered what the day said about our political system as a whole.

“What particularly struck me was the inept, partisan nature of the comments/tirades by the Senate Committee members. This was not a good day for the American democratic process. Foreign viewers would be, I think, especially shocked by what was going on. I know I was, and I’m pretty politically sophisticated.” — Sherry Smith of Berkeley, Calif.

“On a phone call tonight with one of my girlfriends from college I realized the difference between how I feel now and how I felt election night 2016. I have no hope or expectation people will do the right thing … I’ve already mentally prepared myself for the chance (likelihood?) that he’s confirmed. Somehow yet again people don’t believe this woman is enough, and I can’t even let myself hope. I realized tonight the naïve part of me that believed the good guys always win — that’s gone.” — Isabella Woodward of Chicago

Responses have been edited for clarity. A special thanks to our news assistants, Isabella Grullón Paz and Margaret Kramer, for helping us sort through your all of your letters today. As always, you can reach us at onpolitics@nytimes.com.

[For an international perspective on the hearings, The Times’s Reader Center collected responses from around the globe. Read them here.]


We generally don’t spend much time in this note recapping the day’s news. But so much happened today with Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and there’s so much interest in what will happen next, that we thought it was worth a quick rundown.